How to Watch Someone Sleep
Very calmly and with a certain intention not to draw suspicion, invite a guest to your residence. Make your residence very tidy and welcoming. Purchase a potted plant. Light a candle in the bathroom nearest where the guest will sleep. Smile frequently. But not idiotically. Ask engaging questions. How is your guest’s significant other? Is the family well? Work, you assume, is going brilliantly. Has there been much travel? What a fantastic place in the spring.
Fetch your guest a comfortable pillow. Perhaps the most comfortable you have. Take it from your own bed if you must. Comfort here is necessary. Be sure to wash it should you have a particularly oily scalp. Scalp smell is not welcoming nor is it conducive to the sleep watching that will soon take place. It is not uncommon for a guest to leave should he or she be given a stinking pillow. Avail the shower for your guest. Place a fresh bar of soap in the holder. Make sure an extra packaged toothbrush is on hand should your guest forget his or hers. Designate a space in the holder that is sufficient for storage after teeth-brushing has been completed.
It is recommended that prior to this, you should offer your guest a snack or a cup of nighttime tea. I recommend this before hand so that your guest should not have the unfortunate experience of eating post teeth-brushing. This can taint the taste of the snack and/or beverage unfavorably. Offering this after your guest has cleansed their teeth can also seem somewhat weird. Weird is what you should aim to avoid the entirety of your guest’s waking stay at your residence.
The goal here is to have your guest comfortable and well satiated before bed. Clean and satisfied are the best conditions for a sleeping guest whom you wish to watch sleep. Once your guest has declared his or her being ready to retire, be sure to wish your guest a very good night’s sleep. Offer any last minute necessities. A noisemaker perhaps of a recorded ocean break or a bird song. An extra pillow? Once the guest has assured you of their comfort, proceed to your own room. Commence reading a book. Something light, as you will be watching the clock and listening to audible clues to ensure your guest’s complete and entire slumber. During this time, you can put your feet into thick and soft socks so that the sound of your steps will be unheard as you approach your guest’s door in the near future.
Make sure a minimum of forty-five minutes has passed with the guest’s light off as evident beneath the door. Subsequently, should you hear your guest utilizing the bathroom facilities, adhere an additional forty-five minutes post use of the washroom. Time is not to be skimped. It is not the same as baking cookies and you cannot open the oven before the time is up.
Once you are as sure as possible that the time has passed without so much as a peep or a labored snore, approach the guest’s room as though it is a sleeping infant’s. Any little noise can spoil the planned activities. Make sure all lights have been turned off and that your residence is as dark as possible. It may be advisable that prior to this excursion, an ample amount of WD40 be applied to the hinges before your guest’s arrival to ensure that the door will not creak at this very pivotal point. Place both hands upon the door. Push ever so slightly. Enter the room and press the door shut, ever so slightly, behind you. If it is dark enough, you may wish to leave the door open to make your exit all the more easy should something go awry.
The moment you have waited for has arrived.
Kneel, sit or stand silently and watch as your guest engages in a successful bout of slumber. Should a noise cue a rupture in your guest’s sleep, quickly and carefully make your way to the door. Remain in the room no longer than fifteen minutes. If your guest happens to turn over, put all of your weight onto the foot closest to the door so you can exit with sufficient momentum.
In the morning, offer your guest toast if you were undiscovered. And in the unfortunate event you had been discovered, send a note (since the visitor might have left rather abruptly) thanking your guest for his or her stay and explain that the circuit breaker was located in the guest room. Apologize, again, for the inconsiderate and entirely accidental disruption of your guest’s sleep.
An Exemplary Letter Should the Adherence to Manual Result in Unfavorable Legalities
[Reprinted here with permission From S.K., author of “How to Watch Someone Sleep”]
NOTE: It should here be noted that this letter was utilized in an actual case to very unfavorable results. Perhaps in the near future, a new, more successful letter could be sent via this author’s e-mail should you have legal success in any Sleep-Watcher case. Thank you.
It is with great respect and true authenticity that I dispute Mr. Gunther’s charge that I watched him sleep during his short stay at my residence last month.
The following is my refutation to Mr. Gunther’s claim of indecency accused of my person.
I did not invite Mr. Gunther to my house in a way that can be described as “catching suspicion.” I am not a mischievous character of this sort. It was not my intention that purchases of the following; “a plant, a candle, a tooth brush, a fresh bar of soap;” were in any way indications that I was to later “watch Mr. Gunther sleep.” Furthermore, I had not purchased these things in the hopes of “welcoming Mr. Gunther into a hostile and perverse environment.” My ways are not fashioned by such predatory characteristics.
While it is true that I fetched Mr. Gunther a fresh pillow, it was not utilized as, “a tool in the creation of an emotionally disturbing environment for my guest.” It was purely out of comfort and without ulterior motive that I allotted him this luxury within my home. I agree with the claim that ‘comfort is a necessity,’ (of which the provided instruction manual has similarly proclaimed). Yet now, given the particular context, this basic common nicety has alluded to the painting of myself in an extremely unfavorable light, one in which I was “possessed of intentions to watch Mr. Gunther take part in his nocturnal slumber.” Yes, I offered the man a clean pillowcase. This is not a crime and it was without notice to any prior knowledge that scalp-smelling pillows would thwart unsuspecting sleep-watch victims. It was a simple act of human decency, I tell you. Furthermore, I offered Mr. Gunther a shower. To insinuate that my intentions were so premeditated to have thought out the ritualistic cleaning and tidying of the shower to further enhance the prospective opportunity to watch the man sleep later that night is not only blasphemous, but also a fallacy. There was a space in the toothbrush holder that I made available to Mr. Gunther and it was propelled without, I repeat without, an inch of inclination to later watch an unconscious Gunther sleep.
In regard to the bedtime snack, it was I who had been eating in the kitchen when Mr. Gunther walked in. I was taught, I believe sometime before kindergarten, to share food should there be another person near by who might want some. So I offered the man half of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. To imply that this was in any way “malicious” or “hostile,” given the events that would later transpire, is to base the accusation on faulty logic and unsubstantiated evidence. These little acts, while I admit share a striking resemblance to the document that has been presented to me in wake of the case, cannot be held against my person. I had nothing that night, but the best intention for Mr. Gunther. In fact, it was Mr. Gunther who asked for ‘sleepy time’ tea. And yes, I had purchased the beverage for myself, as I have trouble drifting off to sleep most nights and I find the chamomile ingredient in the drink to be somewhat sedative. The claim that I was trying to “drug my neighbor” is a charge that I refuse to take seriously. I was merely giving way to his request. It was just a cup of tea, ladies and gentlemen. And while the sequence of events is, yes, somewhat identical to that in the document forwarded to me, it is solely common-sense that fueled my decision to provide Mr. Gunther with a packaged toothbrush after the peanut butter and jelly sandwich and after he had finished his tea. In fact, while the document itself is perverse and bizarre, I must agree with it that the combination in taste of snack and toothpaste is horrible!
Of course I offered my guest any last minute requests before bed. What should happen if he realized, once ready for bed, that he needed an extra pillow for his bad back? Are you privy to the knowledge of his bad back? Well, I think it would have been negligent to have ignored his physical distress by not offering such an amenity. Should I have withheld from the man tools for his comfort? Would I be charged with “inhospitable hosting?” Please, I request from the jury and the levelheaded members of the presiding legal committee, to point out how I have done anything wrong up to now. I acted only and solely with the best of intentions in providing Mr. Gunther a safe and comfortable place to reside—nothing more. I had not designed the environment as one that is “conducive to sleep watching,” nor had I “premeditated actions” this night. I had no “plan drafted,” no “hidden agenda.” I tell you, I am not this kind of man.
This is exactly what happened: I told Mr. Gunther have “a very good night’s sleep” (simple usage here, of a common phrase—one which now, perplexingly, is incriminating me in a perverse sleep exploitation lawsuit.) Mr. Gunther stands corrected in his assertion that I “began reading a book when I retired to my room.” In fact, I was engaging in a crossword puzzle I had been working on for the entire week. Furthermore, it is true that this night is the night I finished the puzzle. I realize this evidence may be biased or unfit for the case, but I have dated the accomplishment in my journal under the date of the incident for further clarification purposes. And certainly, at the time, I hadn’t an idea this would become a legal proceeding or a claim filed against myself. Though I suppose my character is on trial, and one would have a hard time ignoring this while reading my journal. I suppose I could have written it in there last night. But I did not. I understand the unreliable nature of my journal. I understand because I am a reasonable man.
I haven’t the slightest idea how much time passed between the time I retired to my room and Mr. Gunther’s falling asleep. While he claims “exactly forty-five minutes,” I arguably could say more or less because, to be quite frank, I wasn’t paying attention to the time because it was not my intention to watch Mr. Gunther sleep that night. His charge that his door was “extra smooth at the hinges” is mere evidence of a handy and professional carpenter who applied the door years ago. Instead of chalking it up to my “perversion,” perhaps we should call on that carpenter for doing such a good and thorough job with the installation of that door. I think that would be much more productive than what we are currently dealing with here.
There had been a storm that night. This can be proven by meteorological reports and the cell phone call I put forth that night when the electricity blew out. I do find it “odd” that my residence was the “only one to lose power,” but this cannot be fault of mine. I’ve had multiple problems with electricity and have placed several calls into PG&E in the past five years. Please note my furious refutation of Mr. Gunther’s claims that these calls “had probably occurred during the stay of other guests” I’d “baited over.” These relentless allegations of exploitation and perversion make my stomach turn and my brain thick with despair.
The calling in of the electrician was entirely unnecessary for the purposes of this case. His insistence that, “the wire had been cut,” according to his findings, proves nil. This is not new, folks. The last several calls I put forth were all of the same nature. I have constantly suspected the hooligan kids of the neighborhood, as I have recently become a target for many of their pranks. I refute the claim that I was caught “red handed” watching Mr. Gunther sleep. Though I think we can agree here that he is of the personality to fictionalize truth. He had disclosed to me his complete comfort before sleeping. Should his comfort be so complete, would he wake to such a quiet push of the door open? I needed moonlight (visible only through the window in his room) for my crossword puzzle! Why shouldn’t that be enough?
In closing, I refute all charges of indecency. I am aware of the ill-published instruction manual “How to Watch Someone Sleep” and I can swear to everyone present that I had not known of it prior to this case nor had I had any part in “constructing the manual,” despite sharing the initials with the auteur. Need I point out how commonly the letters S.K., occur throughout the English language? I am a quiet man with many friends, all of whom sometimes stay the night. I am not interested in their sleep. And if I were, how does one explain the fact that I noted, in the same journal mentioned earlier in this letter, that Mr. Gunther had used the bathroom only ten minutes before the lights went out. If I had been whole-heartedly invested in sleep watching and fully familiar with the instruction manual, would I have disobeyed such a concrete rule as described in the manifesto? Highly unlikely. It is with great sadness that I recognize Mr. Gunther’s wish and court ordered restraint that he no longer spend nights at my house. I would like to reconcile amicably should the man so afford me this small act of decency. I am embarrassed and outraged by the preposterous reports that implicated me in this absurd matter last month. I hope this letter can remedy any and all doubts of my guilt currently circulating in the wake of this tragic case.
Mr. Samuel Klauster, III
Katie Manderfield writes and lives in Los Angeles. She is an editorial assistant at Black Clock literary magazine and writes for the LAist. Her work has appeared most recently in Pindeldyboz, Word Riot and 3:AM.